There are quite a lot of reports saying that the fees Spotify, Apple Music and other music streaming services pay artists are very low. These reports tend imply that because people are streaming, not as much music is being purchased and hence overall revenues for artists are down.

See this article on CNBC:

When people bought albums and even mp3s, there was a glimmer of hope that a musician could earn a decent income on sales. But now musicians are essentially giving away their music in return for pennies.

Or this article in the Guardian:

[Spotify's] exploitative relationship with musicians has trickle-down effects. The most basic is that any artist who can’t afford to make music is not going to be making much more of it

Or this article on The Verge :

But even these massive numbers are paltry when you consider what fans might've spent if they had purchased a full album. In order for the rights holders of an album to earn $10 (the cost of most digital downloads) from Spotify, an individual user would need to stream the tracks on it 1,190 times. And in my small sample size of Verge staffers, most capped out at a few hundred streams per artist.

Clearly most artists are not earning much money directly from Spotify. There are other ways artists will make money - album sales, live shows and merchandise - but the articles quoted appear to equate streaming an album with a lost sale. The assumption that streaming services are lowering artists revenues is only ever supported by anecdotal evidence and I have never seen an article link to any studies that support this.

My question is, has any research has been done into how listening on streaming services changes artists revenues? In particular, is the assumption seen in news reports justified, that people who use streaming services buy less music?

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    When you've found some research on this (that's been published), come back and post that, and explain why you question it. – Daniel R Hicks May 16 '19 at 11:45
  • Your argument is a bit flawed, because it assumes that music sales are increasing (and streaming is a kind of advertisement for sales). But streaming replaces physical (and digital) sales and therefore the logic streaming leads to more sales does not hold. On another note: What exactly is your notable claim? – redleo85 May 16 '19 at 11:45
  • @redleo85 The argument isn't flawed (whether accurate or not). It's that streaming exposes people to music they may not have heard, which they later end up buying. The same way radio works to influence sales, really. Agree that it could use some fleshing out for notability and specificity, but it's definitely not the first time I've heard it. – Is Begot May 16 '19 at 12:21
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    @StrangeIdeas Pirating something does not imply that the company lost one sale. Most people that pirate stuff would not buy it if pirating wasn't available, so the ratio is not 1:1. On the other hand streaming always makes revenue either true ads or monthly fees, even when the user listen always to the same authors/tracks, so someone that listen to streams may be paying more than what they'd pay for buying a copy and again it's not 1:1. Just looking at raw numbers of sales does not look really that useful – Giacomo Alzetta May 16 '19 at 12:38
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    Keep in mind that's only from music sales that an artist lives. A big chunk of their revenue comes from live shows. There quite a few bands that I only purchased a ticket for their live performances because I had had previous experience with their music over streaming. – T. Sar May 16 '19 at 12:56

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